COLLEGE PARK, Md. - You don’t want to get in a chess match in the training room with Brendan Moore (See Maurice Shelton).
You don’t want to debate politics or education in the locker room with Brendan Moore (see Damian Prince).
And you definitely don’t want to match wits in the football film room, about formations or calls and blocks, with Brendan Moore (see Derwin Gray).
While the two elite Maryland redshirt freshmen offensive tackles, Gray and Prince, get most of the headlines, given their four and five-star pedigree and Under Armour All American accolades two years ago, it’s the redshirt freshman center Moore from Texas who may be the most intriguing.
The Austin, Texas, native loves his chess and politics as much as his native state’s barbeque and steak (the one thing he misses most out East), and he may be the quickest wit on the team. Teammates fear getting in debates with Moore “as Brendan is a very intelligent person," Prince said. "He thinks everything though, whether it be on the field or just a regular conversation with him. And he’s not a person you want to argue with because he’s definitely going to make you feel like a big idiot. He’s like a lawyer-type guy, he’s always going to pull out something and it’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t got any comebacks for that.'”
But it’s on the field the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder is impressing most, nearly playing last year as a rookie, and now firmly entrenched in a tight battle for center, a position it would appear he may soon overtake. Moore is easing in quickly making the calls at center with his quick mind, Prince adding that Moore is “light-years ahead” of most freshmen in that department.
“Brendan is a guy who is smart, aggressive, he's got good feet. He’s got all of those things you look for,” head coach Randy Edsall said. “There was a chance last year we thought maybe….but the best thing to do is redshirt him and keep him down [on scout team] and get him that work. But he is one of those guys who I think is going to be hard to keep him off the field.”
Edsall, after all three redshirted last year, is excited about the prospects of the trio potentially starting before long on the continued-to-be-rebuilt Terps offensive line. He said Gray (318 pounds) is improving at left tackle and just needs to continue to be more exact and precise; he said Prince (320 pounds) is playing at a faster pace this year thanks to his weight loss; while redshirt freshman Sean Christie, back from knee surgery last fall, is also impressing.
But it’s Moore who may sneak up on them all. Getting reps with both first and second team along with senior center Stephen Grommer, Moore, each morning at spring practice, is indeed an eager beaver.
Every time, five practices so far, he's been the first non-specialist to take the field at Byrd, at around 8:00 AM, as the players come out of Gossett and prepare to go to work. He is busy perfecting his craft each day, and Moore is one smart, athletic, tough kid.
“It’s been a great process,” Moore said of Year One. “And all spring is really about is focusing on technique, and Coach [Terps offensive line coach Greg Studrawa] Stud is an amazing technician and coach of technique. So all we have to work on is our technique.”
Moore is glad to play any position on the line for the Terps, after signing as a three-star offensive guard two years ago out of the Lone Star State.
“I feel like I am versatile enough and my body is made in such a way that I can play many positions, and in time I can acclimate my body to that position,” Moore said. He arrived at 272 pounds last summer and looks markedly different in both the lower and upper body, which he said he attributes to Terps strength coach Drew Wilson.
Moore said that technically, he is trying to blend better his aggression with his mental game.
“I would say that right now that I have….Coach Stud basically teaches that you can have aggression and you can have technique and they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And right now I have a lot of aggression but some of my technique needs to be shored up,” Moore said.
But looking at the young pups, the right tackle Prince is moving a lot better with his major weight loss (they stopped counting where he was last fall when he arrived it was so high). Prince last played right tackle as a freshman at Bishop McNamara but is ramping up fast in spring camp.
Gray is a massive prospect with long arms and tremendous athleticism for a man his size, and is starting to lock down the left side. He is completely over last year's shoulder surgery, and has gotten both stronger and quicker. Best of all he knows his plays and calls more.
And in the center of it all may soon be the cerebral Moore, the Terps man in the middle who soon may be making all the calls. He’s quick with his reads and calls, and has great respect among his teammates already.
“I love Maryland. I have loved every minute I have been here,” said Moore, who is in the Maryland business school and likes keeping tabs on politics when he has time. “Of course I definitely do get homesick from time to time because I am so far away. But all the coaches have been amazing and everyone has been extremely welcoming here.”
Said Gray of his precocious freshman teammate Moore:
“Oh man, Brendan?,” Gray said with a chuckle. “When Brendan comes to a topic that is educational or academic or on the football field, he believes he is always right. So if we are in the film room, coaches may be breaking down an angle mistake, and he may say ‘Brendan, what’s that angle?' Just because he knows Brendan’s a brainy guy.”
Brendan Moore Keeps Terps on Their Toes
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